Title: A Backward Glance
Characters: Shiranui Genma
Warnings: Expletives and disturbing lines of thought.
Notes: [CGH] Genma looks back at how he chose to become a ninja, and what was inherently wrong with that decision for a man who is so attached to truth. (Originally posted to WF, March 28, 2008)
There was a time when I believed that a ninja could do no wrong — that there was some inherent truth and beauty to the Way, and that to follow in it would give me the power to make things right, both for myself and for others I cared about — most pointedly, my mother. I studied hard and learned quickly, as a man does when he has a strong belief, but even as a child, I could see the distance between the image and the truth. In the way of every successful shinobi before me, I did the same to myself. I am not the paper cutout who smiles lazily and flirts with the store-keeper’s daughter, but the storekeeper and his wife and daughter have no reason to imagine I’m anything else. I’m just a handsome young man with some interesting proclivities, who keeps them safe, so they can sleep at night. To them, I’m not a monster. To them, I’m not an emotionless killer, a sleek, young assassin, an incarnation of the demons under the bed. I’m a shinobi of the Leaf, and the people of my village don’t see me as a logical extension of the system that inflicted the ninja of other villages on them. To the people of my village I’m a defender, sometimes a hero, but never the destroyer of men and worlds that they see when they think of the ninja of the Stone or the Grass. I’m not the destroyer of men and worlds to them that I am to my enemies, and somehow, this is not a comforting thought. How long before that gap between what is and what is seen becomes too slim? Do they truly expect that one day, I’ll settle down and marry someone’s daughter? That I’ll raise my children to be like me, and that this will create some warm and loving family? What about the Uchiha clan? What about the Hyuuga clan? Does this shit have happy family written on it? No. It’s just a festering sore on the ass of the world — soldiers raising soldiers — a community of semi-tame monstrosities defending honest men in exchange for the occasional bowl of noodles. One of these days someone’s going to get hurt. One of these days, one of us is going to cease to be tame. Sometimes I think it’ll be Hatake, but then I look in the mirror. I only came here in pursuit of the beauty of truth and the truth of beauty. I wonder how much longer I’ll see the beauty in a clean kill. I wonder if anyone real knows what I see. I wonder if anyone cares.